Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to Talk About School: For Parents

You: "How was school today?"
Your teenager: "Okay."
Okay? you think. What kind of okay? Did something spectacular happen? Are you really depressed, but you don't want to talk about it? Why is this happening? Shouldn't they be able to talk to you about anything?
Here are a few tips from an "insider" (ooh, I like that. I feel sneaky and professional).
Three Things Not to Do:
1: Don't say "How was school today?" You've said that almost every day for years now, and chances are you always say it in the same tone of voice.
2: Don't ask about assignments or homework. How would you feel if your teenager came home and said, "Did you clean the kitchen today? How well did you clean it?"
3: Don't interrogate. "Who did you sit with at lunch? What did you talk about? Did you feel included? Do you think everybody else felt included? Which class do you have with that one kid again? And is Taylor in that class, too? Have you thought about sitting with Taylor instead? Who does Taylor sit with?"
It's not likely they'll remember that many details. And even if they do, their personal life is personal. You're a parent, not their personal assistant.
Three Things To Do:
1: Show interest. Some teenagers don't talk because they don't think you care about their classes or friend drama. "Was math class hard? How are things with Alex?"
2: Ask questions-don't make it a short, boring How was school/Good/That's good.
3: Remember that it's alright if they don't want to tell you everything. Some things, such as crushes, they feel more comfortable telling journals or friends.

     Also, talk about what's going on in your life. How was your day?

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